With two weeks until Christmas Eve, the holiday spirit is in full swing at our house. Lighted roping decorates our front porch, candles alight our windows, and the tree is decorated and awaiting the arrival of presents underneath it.
At this time of year, I feel a stronger urge to bake and keep the house stocked with treats. Some of the things I bake are new recipes that are begging to be tried, and others are recipes that have been part of Christmas since I was a young girl.
Chrust is one of those lifelong cookies. Only made at Christmastime, they were made by my dad and any helpers he could find. Renamed “Polish Pretzels” by my little brother, they were a popular treat. They are made with a rolled dough that is cut and “knotted” so that the cookies somewhat resemble pretzels. These cookies are fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar, kind of like a smaller version of fried dough.
Having become more health-conscious and less desiring of fried foods the last few years, I have not made any of these cookies. However, this past Sunday my dad was in the area on business, so my family and he were invited for dinner at my younger brother’s house. With a last minute brainstorm, my brother suggested we all make Chrust. This ended up being a great choice. Except for my two young nephews (ages 3 and 1), everyone helped in some part of the cookie preparation. And then everyone, myself included, sampled a few of these cookies.
Although it would have been a perfect day if the whole family were there, it was the best day we could have without the presence of my other brother and his family, my husband and two of our kids, and my mom. Even though I may not enjoy eating them much anymore, I would like to keep this tradition of baking Chrust with my family alive.
- 9 Tb. sugar
- 9 Tb. butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup cream
- 4-1/2 cups flour
- powdered sugar
- Combine sugar and butter, and mix well. Add eggs one a time, beating well.
- Continue beating, and add salt and vanilla. Slowly add cream, and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add flour, and stir well. Allow dough to sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Preheat deep fryer to 338. Roll a section of dough to 1/8″ thickness on a well-floured surface.
- Cut dough into 1-1/2″ strips. Using a diagonal cut, slice strips into 4″ or 5″ cookies.
- Make a 2″ cut lengthwise in the middle of each cookie. Take one pointed end, and gently pull through the slit to create a knot.
- Place 4 or 5 cookies* in the deep fryer, flipping after 2 minutes and continuing to cook for another 2 minutes**, or until golden brown.
- Place cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered in paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately.
- *Deep fryers vary in size. Put in enough cookies, so that they aren’t crowded.
- **Cooking times vary for deep fryers. Watch your first batch carefully to determine the correct cooking time for your deep fryer.